How to handle gaming addiction

How to handle gaming addiction
Highlights

Video gaming (playing video games ) has become a popular activity for people of all ages. Many children and adolescents spend large amounts of time playing them. Video gaming is a multi-billion dollar industry bringing in more money than movies and DVD’s.

"Games don't create violence, they reflect the violent society we already live in."

Video gaming (playing video games ) has become a popular activity for people of all ages. Many children and adolescents spend large amounts of time playing them. Video gaming is a multi-billion dollar industry bringing in more money than movies and DVD’s. Video games have become very sophisticated and realistic. Some games connect to the internet, which can allow children and adolescents to play online with unknown adults and peers.While some games have educational content, many of the most popular games emphasise negative themes and promote:

The killing of people or animals

The use and abuse of drugs and alcohol

Criminal behavior, disrespect for authority and the law

Sexual exploitation and violence toward women

Racial, sexual, and gender stereotypes

Foul language, obscenities, and obscene gestures

There is growing research on the effects of videogames on children. Some video games may promote learning, problem solving and help with the development of fine motor skills and coordination. However, there are concerns about the effect of violent video games on young people who play videogames excessively. Studies of children exposed to violence have shown that they can become: “immune” or numb to the horror of violence, imitate the violence they see, and show more aggressive behavior with greater exposure to violence. Some children accept violence as a way to handle problems. Studies have also shown that the more realistic and repeated the exposure to violence, the greater the impact on children. In addition, children with emotional, behavioral and learning problems may be more influenced by violent images. Children and adolescents can become overly involved and even obsessed with videogames. Spending large amounts of time playing these games can create problems and lead to:

Poor social skills

Time away from family time, school-work, and other hobbies

Lower grades and reading less

Exercising less, and becoming overweight

Aggressive thoughts and behaviours

By the age of 14, scientists claim young people should be able to empathise with others. The research found that this stage appeared to be delayed in teenagers, who regularly played violent games, involving killing and torture scenes. Video games are a unique form of entertainment because they encourage players to become a part of the game's script.

Although video games have been available for more than 30 years, today's sophisticated video games require players to pay constant attention to the game. Players engage on deeper level physically and emotionally, than people do when watching a movie or TV.

Violent video games have been blamed for school shootings, increases in bullying, and violence towards women..

Critics argue that these games desensitise players to violence, reward players for simulating violence, and teach children that violence is an acceptable way to resolve conflicts.

Gentile & Anderson (2003) stated that playing video games may increase aggressive behavior because violent acts are continually repeated throughout the video game. This method of repetition has long been considered an effective teaching method in reinforcing learning patterns.

A study conducted in 2008 found that, children who played more violent video games during the beginning of the school year showed more aggression than other children later in the school year.

Playing violent video games for long periods of time can hold back the"moral maturity" of teenagers and stunt their emotional growth. It is thought that regular exposure to violence and the lack of contact with the outside world makes it harder for them to understand right from wrong. They also struggle to trust other people, and see the world from their perspective.

Playing violent video games not only increases aggression, it also leads to less self-control and more cheating, a new study finds. Researchers found that teens that played violent video games ate more chocolate and were more likely to steal raffle tickets in a lab experiment than were teens that played nonviolent games.

Violent video games can train children to kill, glorify violence, desensitise them to suffering and legitimise and trivialise violence. One must remember that there are more significant factors, such as child abuse, domestic violence, gangs in the neighbourhood, or growing up in a war zone, that are likely to de-sensitise people to violence or increase violent behavior.

So, repeated researches concluded that,

Exposure to violence makes it harder for teens to tell right from wrong

Gaming also reduces the amount of contact they have with the real world

This can delay their emotional development, especially in terms of empathy

They also struggle to trust others and see the world from their perspective.

How to stop gaming addiction

It's important to have fun in life. However, things you do for fun can become something that takes over your life, and become an addiction. It can interfere with school, studies and social adaptability. If you're at the point where your gaming habits become an addiction, it's important to take a step back and look at what you're doing to yourself.

1. Examine all of the negative effects that have come of your game addiction.

These might be:

Diminishing physical and mental skills.

Loss of valuable time of study

Suffering grades

Personality changes (aggression, low moods etc.)

Unhealthy weight gain because of poor diet and physical activity.

2. Commit yourself to making a change for the better. Realising that you have a problem, along with seeing the effects of the problem, gives you an advantage. It gives you a reason to change and motivates you to stick with it.

3. Decide whether you want to go cold turkey or progressively quit. Some people can't get over an addiction unless they stop it completely, while cold turkey actually makes it worse for someone else.

4. Make a plan for gaming time in a week if you don’t want to go cold turkey. The harmful effects are more connected with the longer duration of the exposure to the violent environment than the content of the game.

5. Complete your other responsibilities before going on the computer. When you come home from school, do your homework. Do your chores and take care of the top priorities before settling down for the day.

6. Often, children addicted to computer games will stay up late. Try going to bed earlier each day, but not so early that you'll just lie in bed staring at the ceiling.

7. Replace the time you're cutting from the computer on more productive activities. You can exercise, read, or do something else that stimulates your brain. Develop the habit of playing outdoor sports.

8. Go out with your friends more often. Friends are important in life: they're there to support you, they're a source of advice, and later in life, those connections can even help you to study well, and walking around the mall or the park can help your health.

Tips to handle it:

If you want to go cold turkey, you can try uninstalling your games or moving it to a flash drive and locking it somewhere until you could get out from your addiction.

Seek support from your friends and family. Ask them to be patient with you as long as you're trying to improve. However, it's important to make sure you are trying to improve, not just pushing the envelope on how much sympathy you can get.

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